Autophagy, 2017
Authors
Choutka, Courtney, DeVorkin, Lindsay, Go, Nancy Erro, Hou, Ying-Chen Claire, Moradian, Annie, Morin, Gregg B, Gorski, Sharon M
Publication Abstract
The 2 main degradative pathways that contribute to proteostasis are the ubiquitin-proteasome system and autophagy but how they are molecularly coordinated is not well understood. Here, we demonstrate an essential role for an effector caspase in the activation of compensatory autophagy when proteasomal activity is compromised. Functional loss of Hsp83, the Drosophila ortholog of human HSP90 (heat shock protein 90), resulted in reduced proteasomal activity and elevated levels of the effector caspase Dcp-1. Surprisingly, genetic analyses showed that the caspase was not required for cell death in this context, but instead was essential for the ensuing compensatory autophagy, female fertility, and organism viability. The zymogen pro-Dcp-1 was found to interact with Hsp83 and undergo proteasomal regulation in an Hsp83-dependent manner. Our work not only reveals unappreciated roles for Hsp83 in proteasomal activity and regulation of Dcp-1, but identifies an effector caspase as a key regulatory factor for sustaining adaptation to cell stress in vivo.

Oncotarget, 2017
Authors
Tindale, Lauren C, Leach, Stephen, Spinelli, John J, Brooks-Wilson, Angela R
Publication Abstract
Several studies have found that long-lived individuals do not appear to carry lower numbers of common disease-associated variants than ordinary people; it has been hypothesized that they may instead carry protective variants. An intriguing type of protective variant is buffering variants that protect against variants that have deleterious effects. We genotyped 18 variants in 15 genes related to longevity or healthy aging that had been previously reported as having a gene-gene interaction or buffering effect. We compared a group of 446 healthy oldest-old 'Super-Seniors' (individuals 85 or older who have never been diagnosed with cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes or major pulmonary disease) to 421 random population-based midlife controls. Cases and controls were of European ancestry. Association tests of individual SNPs showed that Super-Seniors were less likely than controls to carry an APOEε4 allele or a haptoglobin HP2 allele. Interactions between APOE/FOXO3, APOE/CRYL1, and LPA/CRYL1 did not remain significant after multiple testing correction. In a network analysis of the candidate genes, lipid and cholesterol metabolism was a common theme. APOE, HP, and CRYL1 have all been associated with Alzheimer's Disease, the pathology of which involves lipid and cholesterol pathways. Age-related changes in lipid and cholesterol maintenance, particularly in the brain, may be central to healthy aging and longevity.

Oncoimmunology, 2017
Authors
Martin, Spencer D, Wick, Darin A, Nielsen, Julie S, Little, Nicole, Holt, Robert A, Nelson, Brad H
Publication Abstract
Mutated cancer antigens, or neoantigens, represent compelling immunological targets and appear to underlie the success of several forms of immunotherapy. While there are anecdotal reports of neoantigen-specific T cells being present in the peripheral blood and/or tumors of cancer patients, effective adoptive cell therapy (ACT) against neoantigens will require reliable methods to isolate and expand rare, neoantigen-specific T cells from clinically available biospecimens, ideally prior to clinical relapse. Here, we addressed this need using "mini-lines", large libraries of parallel T cell cultures, each originating from only 2,000 T cells. Using small quantities of peripheral blood from multiple time points in an ovarian cancer patient, we screened over 3.3 × 10{{sup}}6{{/sup}} CD8{{sup}}+{{/sup}} T cells by ELISPOT for recognition of peptides corresponding to the full complement of somatic mutations (n = 37) from the patient's tumor. We identified ten T cell lines which collectively recognized peptides encoding five distinct mutations. Six of the ten T cell lines recognized a previously described neoantigen from this patient (HSDL1{{sup}}L25V{{/sup}}), whereas the remaining four lines recognized peptides corresponding to four other mutations. Only the HSDL1{{sup}}L25V{{/sup}}-specific T cell lines recognized autologous tumor. HSDL1{{sup}}L25V{{/sup}}-specific T cells comprised at least three distinct clonotypes and could be identified and expanded from peripheral blood 3-9 months prior to the first tumor recurrence. These T cells became undetectable at later time points, underscoring the dynamic nature of the response. Thus, neoantigen-specific T cells can be expanded from small volumes of blood during tumor remission, making pre-emptive ACT a plausible clinical strategy.

Frontiers in endocrinology, 2017
Authors
Leung, Jacky K, Sadar, Marianne D
Publication Abstract
Androgen receptor (AR) is a validated drug target for prostate cancer based on its role in proliferation, survival, and metastases of prostate cancer cells. Unfortunately, despite recent improvements to androgen deprivation therapy and the advent of better antiandrogens with a superior affinity for the AR ligand-binding domain (LBD), most patients with recurrent disease will eventually develop lethal metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Expression of constitutively active AR splice variants that lack the LBD contribute toward therapeutic resistance by bypassing androgen blockade and antiandrogens. In the canonical pathway, binding of androgen to AR LBD triggers the release of AR from molecular chaperones which enable conformational changes and protein-protein interactions to facilitate its nuclear translocation where it regulates the expression of target genes. However, preceding AR function in the nucleus, initial binding of androgen to AR LBD in the cytoplasm may already initiate signal transduction pathways to modulate cellular proliferation and migration. In this article, we review the significance of signal transduction pathways activated by rapid, non-genomic signaling of the AR during the progression to metastatic CRPC and put into perspective the implications for current and novel therapies that target different domains of AR.

PloS one, 2017
Authors
Myung, Jae-Kyung, Wang, Gang, Chiu, Helen H L, Wang, Jun, Mawji, Nasrin R, Sadar, Marianne D
Publication Abstract
Androgen receptor (AR) is a member of the steroid receptor family and a therapeutic target for all stages of prostate cancer. AR is activated by ligand binding within its C-terminus ligand-binding domain (LBD). Here we show that overexpression of the AR NTD to generate decoy molecules inhibited both the growth and progression of prostate cancer in castrated hosts. Specifically, it was shown that lentivirus delivery of decoys delayed hormonal progression in castrated hosts as indicated by increased doubling time of tumor volume, prolonged time to achieve pre-castrate levels of serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and PSA nadir. These clinical parameters are indicative of delayed hormonal progression and improved therapeutic response and prognosis. Decoys reduced the expression of androgen-regulated genes that correlated with reduced in situ interaction of the AR with androgen response elements. Decoys did not reduce levels of AR protein or prevent nuclear localization of the AR. Nor did decoys interact directly with the AR. Thus decoys did not inhibit AR transactivation by a dominant negative mechanism. This work provides evidence that the AR NTD plays an important role in the hormonal progression of prostate cancer and supports the development of AR antagonists that target the AR NTD.

The Journal of biological chemistry, 2016
Authors
Banuelos, Carmen A, Tavakoli, Iran, Tien, Amy H, Caley, Daniel P, Mawji, Nasrin R, Li, Zhenzhen, Wang, Jun, Yang, Yu Chi, Imamura, Yusuke, Yan, Luping, Wen, Jian Guo, Andersen, Raymond J, Sadar, Marianne D
Publication Abstract
Androgen receptor (AR) is a validated drug target for all stages of prostate cancer including metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). All current hormone therapies for CRPC target the C-terminal ligand-binding domain of AR and ultimately all fail with resumed AR transcriptional activity. Within the AR N-terminal domain (NTD) is activation function-1 (AF-1) that is essential for AR transcriptional activity. Inhibitors of AR AF-1 would potentially block most AR mechanisms of resistance including constitutively active AR splice variants that lack the ligand-binding domain. Here we provide evidence that sintokamide A (SINT1) binds AR AF-1 region to specifically inhibit transactivation of AR NTD. Consistent with SINT1 targeting AR AF-1, it attenuated transcriptional activities of both full-length AR and constitutively active AR splice variants, which correlated with inhibition of growth of enzalutamide-resistant prostate cancer cells expressing AR splice variants. In vivo, SINT1 caused regression of CRPC xenografts and reduced expression of prostate-specific antigen, a gene transcriptionally regulated by AR. Inhibition of AR activity by SINT1 was additive to EPI-002, a known AR AF-1 inhibitor that is in clinical trials (NCT02606123). This implies that SINT1 binds to a site on AF-1 that is unique from EPI. Consistent with this suggestion, these two compounds showed differences in blocking AR interaction with STAT3. This work provides evidence that the intrinsically disordered NTD of AR is druggable and that SINT1 analogs may provide a novel scaffold for drug development for the treatment of prostate cancer or other diseases of the AR axis.

Oncotarget, 2016
Authors
Bortnik, Svetlana, Choutka, Courtney, Horlings, Hugo M, Leung, Samuel, Baker, Jennifer H, Lebovitz, Chandra, Dragowska, Wieslawa H, Go, Nancy E, Bally, Marcel B, Minchinton, Andrew I, Gelmon, Karen A, Gorski, Sharon M
Publication Abstract
Autophagy, a lysosome-mediated degradation and recycling process, functions in advanced malignancies to promote cancer cell survival and contribute to cancer progression and drug resistance. While various autophagy inhibition strategies are under investigation for cancer treatment, corresponding patient selection criteria for these autophagy inhibitors need to be developed. Due to its central roles in the autophagy process, the cysteine protease ATG4B is one of the autophagy proteins being pursued as a potential therapeutic target. In this study, we investigated the expression of ATG4B in breast cancer, a heterogeneous disease comprised of several molecular subtypes. We examined a panel of breast cancer cell lines, xenograft tumors, and breast cancer patient specimens for the protein expression of ATG4B, and found a positive association between HER2 and ATG4B protein expression. We showed that HER2-positive cells, but not HER2-negative breast cancer cells, require ATG4B to survive under stress. In HER2-positive cells, cytoprotective autophagy was dependent on ATG4B under both starvation and HER2 inhibition conditions. Combined knockdown of ATG4B and HER2 by siRNA resulted in a significant decrease in cell viability, and the combination of ATG4B knockdown with trastuzumab resulted in a greater reduction in cell viability compared to trastuzumab treatment alone, in both trastuzumab-sensitive and -resistant HER2 overexpressing breast cancer cells. Together these results demonstrate a novel association of ATG4B positive expression with HER2 positive breast cancers and indicate that this subtype is suitable for emerging ATG4B inhibition strategies.

International journal of urology : official journal of the Japanese Urological Association, 2016
Authors
Imamura, Yusuke, Sadar, Marianne D
Publication Abstract
The androgen receptor is a transcription factor and validated therapeutic target for prostate cancer. Androgen deprivation therapy remains the gold standard treatment, but it is not curative, and eventually the disease will return as lethal castration-resistant prostate cancer. There have been improvements in the therapeutic landscape with new agents approved, such as abiraterone acetate, enzalutamide, sipuleucel-T, cabazitaxel and Ra-223, in the past 5 years. New insight into the mechanisms of resistance to treatments in advanced disease is being and has been elucidated. All current androgen receptor-targeting therapies inhibit the growth of prostate cancer by blocking the ligand-binding domain, where androgen binds to activate the receptor. Persuasive evidence supports the concept that constitutively active androgen receptor splice variants lacking the ligand-binding domain are one of the resistant mechanisms underlying advanced disease. Transcriptional activity of the androgen receptor requires a functional AF-1 region in its N-terminal domain. Preclinical evidence proved that this domain is a druggable target to forecast a potential paradigm shift in the management of advanced prostate cancer. This review presents an overview of androgen receptor-related mechanisms of resistance as well as novel therapeutic agents to overcome resistance that is linked to the expression of androgen receptor splice variants in castration-resistant prostate cancer.

Canadian journal of surgery. Journal canadien de chirurgie, 2015
Authors
Caron, Nadine, Iglesias, Stuart, Friesen, Randall, Berjat, Vanessa, Humber, Nancy, Falk, Ryan, Prins, Mark, Vogt Haines, Victoria, Geller, Brian, Janke, Fred, Woollard, Robert, Batchelor, Bret, Van Bussel, Jared
Publication Abstract
Rural western Canada relies heavily on family physicians with enhanced surgical skills (ESS) for surgical services. The recent decision by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) to recognize ESS as a "community of practice" section offers a potential home akin to family practice anesthesia and emergency medicine. To our knowledge, however, a skill set for ESS in Canada has never been described formally. In this paper the Curriculum Committee of the National ESS Working Group proposes a generic curriculum for the training and evaluation of the ESS skill set.

Autophagy, 2015
Authors
Lebovitz, Chandra B, Robertson, A Gordon, Goya, Rodrigo, Jones, Steven J, Morin, Ryan D, Marra, Marco A, Gorski, Sharon M
Publication Abstract
Aberrant activation or disruption of autophagy promotes tumorigenesis in various preclinical models of cancer, but whether the autophagy pathway is a target for recurrent molecular alteration in human cancer patient samples is unknown. To address this outstanding question, we surveyed 211 human autophagy-associated genes for tumor-related alterations to DNA sequence and RNA expression levels and examined their association with patient survival outcomes in multiple cancer types with sequence data from The Cancer Genome Atlas consortium. We found 3 (RB1CC1/FIP200, ULK4, WDR45/WIPI4) and one (ATG7) core autophagy genes to be under positive selection for somatic mutations in endometrial carcinoma and clear cell renal carcinoma, respectively, while 29 autophagy regulators and pathway interactors, including previously identified KEAP1, NFE2L2, and MTOR, were significantly mutated in 6 of the 11 cancer types examined. Gene expression analyses revealed that GABARAPL1 and MAP1LC3C/LC3C transcripts were less abundant in breast cancer and non-small cell lung cancers than in matched normal tissue controls; ATG4D transcripts were increased in lung squamous cell carcinoma, as were ATG16L2 transcripts in kidney cancer. Unsupervised clustering of autophagy-associated mRNA levels in tumors stratified patient overall survival in 3 of 9 cancer types (acute myeloid leukemia, clear cell renal carcinoma, and head and neck cancer). These analyses provide the first comprehensive resource of recurrently altered autophagy-associated genes in human tumors, and highlight cancer types and subtypes where perturbed autophagy may be relevant to patient overall survival.
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